Proposed Legislation Supports USDA Export Programs
September 22, 2017

Bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate this week would increase funding to "successful U.S. Department of Agriculture export promotion programs and help U.S. farmers (and ranchers) maintain an edge in an increasingly competitive global marketplace."

The American Sheep Industry Association supports the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports Act, which would aid the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program by doubling their funds over five years.

"Both of these programs are important to the sheep industry as we look to market American wool overseas," said ASI President Mike Corn of New Mexico. "The sheep industry applauds this bipartisan effort to help America's agricultural producers compete around the globe."

The CREAATE Act was introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Angus King (Maine).

MAP was established in 1985, and allows agricultural trade associations, farmer cooperatives, non-profit trade groups and small businesses to apply for either generic or brand-specific promotion funds to support exporting efforts. Generic commodity funds are issued with a 10-percent minimum matching fund, while brand-specific funds require a funding match of at least 50 percent. FMDP was first developed in 1955, and is largely used for the promotion of bulk commodities, helping agricultural trade associations establish permanent presences in important markets. It also includes a matching fund requirement.

USDA export programs such as MAP and FMDP have added an average of $8.15 billion annually to the value of American agricultural exports, and added up to 239,800 full and part-time jobs. Despite these successes, MAP and FMDP funding has not increased since the 2002 Farm Bill. ASI is an active cooperator with USDA on foreign ag services funds to promote and support the sale of half of the American wool clip annually.